If you’re planning to purchase a home, it’s recommended that you get a pre-approval before you actually start looking. Essentially, a pre-approval is a backing from a lender that proves you are qualified to borrow X amount of money at a specified interest rate.
Why is a Pre-Approval Important?
A pre-approval is important because it lets both you and the seller know exactly how much you can afford to pay for a house. This will help save you time as you time when you are ready to start looking for a house. It also lets the seller know that any offers you make can be taken seriously and are far more likely to close.
However, it is important to remember that a pre-approval is not a 100% guarantee that your loan will be approved; it’s just a good indicator that you will probably be approved. Pre-approvals are typically valid for 60-90 days depending on the lender.
Before you apply for a pre-approval, you should check your credit situation and handle any issues that may be negatively affecting your credit score. Your credit score is one of the most important factors in determining whether your mortgage will get approved or denied. The better your credit score, the better the terms of your mortgage will be.
Once, you’re credit is in order, you’ll need to contact a lender about getting pre-approved. They will let you know what information you will be required to provide. This typically includes:
- Proof of stable income – This could be pay stubs, tax information, w-2 forms, and other documentation proving sources of income such as bonuses, commissions, or child support.
- Asset Information – Such as bank statements, investments, or money being gifted by a family member.
- Personal Info. – A valid form of identification and valid social security number are almost always required when applying for a loan.
The specific requirements vary from lender to lender, but the required documentation is usually the same. Once the information is provided, an underwriter will review the documents and decide if you are qualified to pay back a loan. This process could take a few days to a few weeks depending on the lender’s work flow.
A pre-qualification is similar to a pre-approval but it doesn’t hold as much weight in determining whether you will be pre-approved for a mortgage or not. A pre-qualification gives you a rough estimate of how much you can afford to borrow, but most sellers won’t consider a buyer unless they have gone through the underwriting process and gotten pre-approved.
Shop Multiple Lenders
It is recommended that you should shop around and compare rates from multiple lenders. Get pre-approved by a few different lenders and see what the different rates and loan amounts are. You could wind up saving yourself a large amount of money.